University of Mobile Announces Directors of New School of Nurse Anesthesia

Kathy Dean News, Nursing

Todd Hicks

MOBILE, Ala. – Todd Hicks, DNP, CRNA, has joined the University of Mobile as professor of nurse anesthesia and director of the new School of Nurse Anesthesia. He leads the first and only Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program in a four-state region that includes Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia.

Also joining the UM School of Nurse Anesthesia as assistant professor and associate program director is Hunter Speeg, DNP, CRNA.

Most recently, Hicks served as an assistant professor and the associate pathway coordinator of the BSN-DNP Nurse Anesthesia Pathway at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

During his tenure at UAB, the nurse anesthesia program expanded by more than 100 percent. He was instrumental in the conversion of the UAB nurse anesthesia training program from a master’s-level degree to the now-required doctoral endpoint. His role was to design and develop the curriculum and manage the didactic preparation of all nurse anesthesia students. Under his leadership, outcomes from the nurse anesthesia program improved during a period of rapid program growth.

Hicks was awarded the Dean’s Award for Innovation in Simulation Education in 2016 and was nominated by his students for the AANA Didactic Instructor of the Year in 2017.

In addition to his work at UAB, he is the Expert Clinical Sciences Lecturer for Valley Anesthesia Review, which is a nurse anesthesia board review course given multiple times per year across the country.  In this role, Hicks has assisted more than 1,000 nurse anesthesia graduates to prepare for the National Certification Examination (NCE).

A native of North Carolina, Hicks has been a resident of Alabama since 1989. He earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Auburn University in 1999 and worked as a middle and high school teacher for three years, prior to returning to Auburn. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2004 and worked as a critical care registered nurse at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Alabama, prior to matriculation in a nurse anesthesia training program.

Hicks earned a Master of Nurse Anesthesia from UAB in 2008 and has worked as a clinical CRNA since completion of his anesthesia training. He earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from UAB in 2015, completing his graduate studies.

He is a sought-after continuing education speaker, having provided content locally, regionally, and nationally for CRNAs in almost any setting. Following years of work as a staff CRNA in the Baptist Health System, he maintained a busy nurse anesthesia practice in central Alabama, providing anesthesia services in an office-based, independent setting. His clinical interests include obstetric anesthesia, regional anesthesia, opioid-free/-reduced techniques, and total intravenous anesthesia techniques. Recent publications pertain to pharmacology and genomics.

Hicks is an active member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist and the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists, for which he has served on the Board of Directors and in various committees. His focus in service is for expansion of nurse anesthesia practice in Alabama to full-scope as well as pharmacology-based continuing education.

Hunter Speeg

Hunter Speeg, DNP, CRNA, joins UM as assistant professor and associate program director of the School of Nurse Anesthesia. Most recently, he served as an adjunct assistant professor within the BSN-DNP Nurse Anesthesia Pathway at UAB while maintaining a clinical anesthesia practice at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham.

He has more than 10 years of clinical experience, most recently as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with previous experience as a critical care and medical-surgical nurse and then case management and health education experience with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

As adjunct assistant professor, Speeg worked within the pathophysiology course series, where he developed and delivered course content and assessments as well as participated in evaluation and long-range planning for this series.

A native of south Mississippi, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2011 from the University of Southern Mississippi and then was awarded a Doctor of Nursing Practice (Nurse Anesthesia) from UAB in 2020. His professional interests include ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia, opioid-free anesthesia, total intravenous anesthesia, and geriatric anesthesia.

UM’s DNAP program is accredited by the Alabama Board of Nursing, Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Currently, the university is interviewing applicants for the first cohort of students who will start the program in August.

The university is accepting applications for the second cohort of students who will begin the program in August 2022. To learn more or apply for admission, visit umobile.edu/dnap. For more information, call Enrollment Services at 251.442.2222.


About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. Founded in 1961, the University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.

For more information about the University of Mobile, visit the website at www.umobile.edu or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is assistant vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.